When I met Shannon Weber in Santa Fe last fall, I gushed shamelessly,proclaiming that I was her biggest fan and that images of her work had been on my computer desktop for a decade. I said that her three-dimensional assemblages resonated so deeply within my artistic soul that it was almost scary. Poor Shannon, she probably thought I was slightly nuts.
After spending five days with her, I am even more in awe of her work and her process. Shannon was invited by the Fiber Artists of San Antonio to come to San Antonio for a workshop and a presentation. And she stayed with me for the five-day visit! We had a really good time taking about art and creativity. Here’s a wonderful quote about her relationship with her materials:
“Intellectually, humans own this genetic history, “we are makers”, and are known to use what we have. My choice in materials would be Pacific sea kelps, and coastal debris of which I have a long lasting affair and bring their own mythologies of place. The benefits of working with raw organic materials, is that they provide a rich dialog to every design.”
For our two-day workshop, Shannon shipped three huge boxes of found materials and dried sea kelp to San Antonio for us to experience in our pieces. She is a tireless teacher, and we all worked without downtime for two days.
I was so frustrated at first because I could not random-weave a long piece of reed into a structure that would hold together. Shannon patiently went over the process again and again until I finally got it.
This was one of my structures – actually, both of the main ones I completed looked remarkably like teapots!
Please watch the workshop video, below – it is an amazing thing to see the variety of structures that emerged from essentially the same materials over a two-day period. Shannon encouraged us to go our own way.
Shannon lives in an isolated region near the coast of Oregon without television or technology. She and her husband ran a fishing lodge for many years when she was first beginning to make things for found materials. Her stories are priceless. She is astonishingly down-to-earth for an artist whose works are found in museums and galleries from California to New York and beyond.
The last afternoon that she stayed with me, she went for a walk in the woods near my house and came back with a gift – three beautifully arranged found objects – twine and rusty bits, just what I love – I now have my very own Shannon Weber work!
Shannon says, “It’s all the in magic and mystery of talking to rocks, rusty bits, and piles of gathered sticks that keeps me inspired.” And the magic and mystery in her work keeps us ALL inspired.